Today I’ve invited author JJ Collins to my site and we would love you to join us, over a cup of virtual coffee, to talk about books, writing and where we authors get our inspirations from.
First of all, let me shout a warm welcome to my guest, Jason – great to have you
Can you please tell us something unique about yourself?
Curiously, I love cooking in the kitchen between my writing stints. I put on a nice bit of easy listening music and go about creating a dish or sometimes, a disaster in the kitchen just to relax. I love working with fresh ingredients and using that time to reflect on my writing.
That sounds delicious, Jason . I love cooking in between writing too, as I guess even busy authors get hungry from time to time . Like you, I love listening to music while preparing food and classical channel is my usual choice these days.
Who, living or dead, do you most admire?
Abraham Lincoln – His story is a great inspirational confidence story in that he shows how if you just keep moving towards your dream, you will eventually make it. He was a truly transformational figure, giving birth to a new freedom while overseeing the greatest transformation and modernisation any nation has ever seen.
Great choice – Lincoln is a hero of mine too. What inspired you to write your latest book?
I have always been fascinated with the strong sense of connection Irish-American’s hold to their heritage. There are over 40 million Irish-American’s and in my experience, they were often more passionate and patriotic about their Irish roots than even some native born Irish themselves. I have a natural love of history and found the circumstances leading to the American Civil War amazing for such a young nation. I thought I would combine my love of Irish-American history with my interest in the American Civil War into a book which explored the Irish connection and involvement.
That sounds a most fascinating read for anyone into history and beyond. Now tell us about your favourite book/author and if they influence your writing, and how?
Favourite author – Doris Kearns Goodwin – Book: Team of Rivals. She combines brilliant historical research with amazing writing ability that one can only aspire to.
Cool. I must check her out.
Do you have a routine for writing? How long does it take you to complete your current book?
I usually write first thing in the morning and late at night. I find these hours are the most productive for my research and writing, always ensuring I take a break during the middle part of the day to refresh the brain. One of my upcoming releases work about the American President’s took about six months. I loved the challenge and it was very much a labour of love.
What do you do when you’re not writing? What’s your favourite pastime?
Besides cooking, I love going for a leisurely walk or watching my favourite sport Basketball. I’m a Chicago Bulls fan going back to the Michael Jordan days. I love travelling when time and health allow and have been lucky enough to have visited many amazing countries and meet some remarkable people.
Wonderful! I used to be crazy about playing basketball as a teen and in my twenties. These days, like you, my main exercise are a lot of travelling, some leisure walks, regular cooking and watching Olympics
Do you use Social Media for promoting your work and communicating with other writers? What’s your take on it?
Yes, I generally use twitter on a daily basis and other social media forums. I think it is a fantastic way of meeting & connecting with other authors and sharing experiences and best practice. If you are an Indie author you cannot afford to be not using social media.
Absolutely! I think many Indie authors will agree with you there.
Do your characters talk to you? Have you ever used people you know as a character?
I write historical and political non-fiction books mostly. In terms of the characters I write about speaking to me? this doesn’t necessarily happen. I do however; like to try and understand the rationale and thinking behind some of my characters decision’s at crucial times in history, and why they made the decisions they did.
If you could go anywhere in the world to write your book. where would it be?
It depends on the subject matter. When I was writing Famine to Freedom, I travelled to the United States to undertake research for the book and ended up undertaking research for later books too. If I had a choice, it would be Spain, as I think the Spanish as a race and culture are very expressive and passionate and I think it is a country that would inspire anyone in their writing no matter the genre.
Sunny Spain is a lovely pick I’d love to live in that beautiful country too, provided that I am able to pick up enough Spanish to get by
Here is a challenge: describe your latest novel within 140 characters, as in a tweet.
Famine to Freedom – An examination of why the Irish embraced their transnationalist position in U.S to demonstrate their commitment & loyalty to their new home.
J.J.Collins is an Indie Author, Blogger and political commentator based in the U.K. A native of Dublin, Ireland, Collins studied at Colaiste Mhuire – Dublin, University of London, Stonebridge College, and the Open University. His family has many connections with the Irish-American community in the United States, in large part due to his grandfather and great uncle’s business in Buffalo, N.Y.
Collins enjoyed a long and successful business career before a serious illness forced a change in life and career direction. This unexpected turn of events allowed Collins to rediscover his passion & love for writing.
Collins debut piece – “Famine to Freedom: The Irish in the American Civil War,” deftly portrays the experience of an immigrant culture that was fundamental in the shaping of the United States. Tracing the Irish-American narrative after General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox courthouse, the war’s aftermath and later political and social impact on the Irish community and how fundamental this ethnic group were in the shaping of America as we know it today. Providing surprising information and a sobering commentary on the formation of the Great American nation.
A lifelong fan of all things American, Collins has always maintained a huge interest in Irish-American history and American History & Politics. He lists Abraham Lincoln as one of his most inspirational and influencing characters in his life. Collins resides in the U.K where he has just finished work on his next two books about the American Presidents and a biographical piece on the Father of the American Constitution – James Madison.
Collins also undertakes reviews for other authors, which can be found here on Amazon.com and is currently working on his fourth book.